I stated a few days ago that Arvindia was my favorite country I've made up. I'm going to have to revise that statement a little: Arvindia used to be my favorite. I still like it a lot, but as I've been developing Belvia beyond what it used to be (basically, not much more than a carbon copy of all my other countries), it may be my favorite, or at least tie with Arvindia.
The name comes from the winged horse named Belvi (Bell-vye). If you will remember, Erasthinian was invaded by a sorcerer, and the people were forced to flee. After being blown off course, they found Arvindia. Well, in Erasthinia during the invasion dwarves lived in the mountains. They were a very secluded race, and rarely had any dealings with the people of that country. When the sorcerer had driven away most of the humans, he began capturing dwarves and forcing them to make things for him. If they refused, they were killed or thrown into the dungeons. Finally, in desperation and in fear for their lives, the dwarves built small ships and set out onto the ocean. Very few of them knew anything of the sea, and none of them had any idea where they were going. All they knew was that they had to get out of Erasthinia.
After a long, long time at sea, they finally saw land, and made for it.
When they had landed, they were overjoyed to see that there were many mountains, and they sent a party of about fifteen dwarves to find out what they could about the land they were on.
But the party never came back, and at last, another group was sent out to look for them.
They came upon a valley, and saw at once that the ground was scorched. Then, after looking about a little longer, they found a pile of burnt bones. In terror, they turned and began to run, but it was too late.
Three dragons were hurtling from the sky towards them. The dwarves gave themselves up for lost, and fell to the ground, not knowing what to do. As the dragons neared, however, they heard a fierce neighing and whinnying, and several winged horses collided with the dragons in a terrible aerial combat. As the dwarves watched, the horses fought valiantly, kicking and stomping and beating with their wings on the dragons, until the terrible creatures had fallen senseless to the ground. The horses then came down and finished off their enemies.
The dwarves rushed to thank their deliverers, but found that they did not speak the same language.
Over the next several months, the dwarves began to learn the language of the flying horses, and soon knew enough to converse a bit. They learned that the dragons and the winged horses had been at war for many years, and that it had been chance that the horses had come to the rescue of the dwarves.
A friendship sprang up between the two races, and they pledged to help each other against the dragons.
It took many more years before the dragons were destroyed from the island, but in the end, there was peace. The leader of the horses, named Belvi, was killed in one of the very last battles, after many heroic deeds, and in honor of him, the dwarves called the island Belvia.
Belvia is made up of two land masses, anchored together by a narrow, eight mile long peninsula. The western part is home to most of the dwarves, while the south-eastern part is home to humans (who came later) and the winged horses for the most part. There are many large cities in both parts, some of them hewn out of the rock.
Here is a little bit about Belvia from my notes:
There is a dwarvish royal family and a human royal family. The dwarven king is known as the Cortid and his wife as the Cortiva, while their children go by no official title except 'sir' and 'ma`am'. The human king and queen are both called 'Stanir', but they follow the dwarven custom of having the prince and princess being known as 'sir' and 'ma`am'.
The Belvians are most known for their fine works of art, such as beautiful, exotic rugs, sculptures, and paintings. They must import much of their food, (such as wheat, fruit, and many vegetables) from Bynthybria.
Many of the dwarves are stone-masters, architects, and glass crafters; some of the humans are these as well. The human families of Cosivar and Alentas have made the Belvian rugs famous, but others make them also. The dwarves usually do not craft rugs, but many of them are wonderful painters. Laborers, such as stone and wood cutters, errand runners, messengers, bakers, and weavers, make up only about twenty percent of the populations, as many of the craftsmen double in these duties, cutting their own wood and stone, for example.
Many of the Belvians worship the winged horses, descended from Belvi, for whom the country is named. A few are worshippers of Enderel, while others believe that the mountains are home to spirits. To kill a winged horse is one of the greatest evils that can be committed, and is punished by instant death.
Usually the Belvians paint landscapes and large murals inside their grand buildings. There are not hardly any paintings of people, but winged horses are prominent in many works of art, including sculpture. It is considered strange and unnecessary to paint humans or dwarves or most animals because of the predominant belief that the winged horses are to be worshipped, and part of that worship is to make works of art depicting them. Therefore, a picture of a living thing besides a winged horse is considered almost blasphemous by most Belvians.
The Belvians, being inventors, have developed many of the instruments used in that part of the world, including lutes, wind instruments, and small harps. They are lovers of fine music and the royal families often have music playing at all times of the day and night. Musician are regarded very highly in Belvia. Those who are commissioned to write music for the Winged Horse Ceremony are highly honored by this, and go down in history.
There are a lot of mountains in Belvia, as well as open plains. Most of the plains are almost impossible to farm, but are wonderful places for finding precious stones. The farmable land is worked by the kings' laborers, and the king's steward sells what the royal families do not need. The dwarven palace is built into the side of the huge Hasilva Mountain, and the human palace and fortress are built at the foot of the Rezell Mountain Range. Much of the royal city is actually in the mountains themselves, as it is shelter from the unpredictable and violent storms which batter that part of Belvia.
Because of where Belvia is situated, there is very little snow or cold weather. Snow is seen as a bad omen, and it is thought that the next year will be cursed if there is snow more than seven days a year.
The Belvians mostly employ their soldiers as guards against thieves from other countries, who are always looking to get their hands on the famed wealth. There have been two wars between the western (dwarven) and south-eastern (human) parts of the country, but for the most part they have lived peacefully and traded together, and often fight together against invading enemies.
The Winged Horse Ceremony is a time when all the winged horses between ten and twenty-five years old come to the human palace to bless the land and predict what the year will hold. It occurs in the second month of the year, on a varying day of the month, and everyone from both sections try to come.
Birthdays are celebrated by the humans only on the first year, and then every fifth year afterwards; usually money or food is given. The dwarves do not celebrate birthdays.
The first week of harvest is celebrated, and gifts are given.
When an apprentice finishes learning his trade (it usually takes five years) his village or city makes a feast in his honor, and the tools of his trade are ceremonially presented to him. In the large cities, it is customary to wait until the end of the year and then hold a celebration for all of the apprentices.
This is a really long post, so I'll cut it short there. If anyone has any questions, please ask them. I'm always looking for something to give me ideas for making a fuller, more realistic world!
The next post will probably be a short one on the winged horses. Thanks for reading :)